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he bosses of one of the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful and re­spected record la­bels, Kalawa Jazmee Records, are ap­par­ently no longer see­ing eye to eye.

City Press has re­li­ably learnt about di­vi­sions in the ranks of five of the co­founders of the iconic la­bel: Os­car “Oskido” Md­longwa, Mandla “Spikiri” Mo­fo­keng, Em­manuel “Mjokes” Mat­sane, Zynne “Ma­hoota” Sibika and Bruce “Dope” Sebitlo.

Three well-placed sources have told City Press that the la­bel’s bosses are ap­par­ently hav­ing dis­agree­ments about money and the di­rec­tion of their mu­sic.

So bad is the com­pe­ti­tion be­tween them, the sources al­lege, that some of their signed artists are think­ing about jump­ing ship.

Three of the Kalawa Jazmee bosses, how­ever, are in­sis­tent that there is no rift be­tween them, while one has ac­knowl­edged that, although they do have oc­ca­sional dif­fer­ences, these are not se­ri­ous.

Mat­sane said: “Dis­agree­ments are a nat­u­ral part of life. Peo­ple are dif­fer­ent, but there is no dis­agree­ment that is a threat to the la­bel.”

But City Press un­der­stands from its sources, two of whom are mu­si­cians close to the record la­bel, that the fall­out is se­ri­ous and the record la­bel bosses are now try­ing to outdo each other.

“It’s about who’s go­ing to pro­duce the next hit and is driv­ing the best car. Their com­pe­ti­tion is un­healthy,” one said.

“They are now scat­tered. This is sad. These are the guys who took Kalawa Jazmee to where it is to­day,” he added.

The 20-year-old com­pany pro­duced such suc­cess­ful groups and artists as Boom Shaka, Thebe, Bongo Maf­fin, Tromp­ies, Mafik­i­zolo and Alaska.

Kalawa Jazmee was the re­sult of a merger be­tween two record la­bels: Kalawa – formed by Christos Kat­saitis, Don Laka, Bruce Sebitlo and Md­longwa – and Jazmee, es­tab­lished by Jairus “Jakarumba” Nkwe, Eu­gene “Don­ald Duck” Mthethwa, Mat­sane, Sibika and Mo­fo­keng.

One for­mer mu­sic ex­ec­u­tive who was close to the Kalawa bosses said: “There is no unity be­tween the di­rec­tors. This is one of the rea­sons Kalawa Jazmee is like this to­day. The bosses them­selves are artists and they are pro­mot­ing their projects in­stead of their artists. This is a con­flict of in­ter­est.”

Two mu­si­cians close to the la­bel said the rift was a threat to the com­pany’s fu­ture: “The Kalawa Jazmee record la­bel doesn’t ex­ist any more. It’s just the name that is out there. They don’t have a proper struc­ture – they are run­ning it like a spaza shop,” said one.

Mo­fo­keng is now work­ing on his own pro­ject called Kwaito Revo­lu­tion – which fea­tures old kwaito artists such as Mshoza, Brickz and Mzam­biya, as well as new kwaito tal­ent – un­der his own com­pany, Spikiri En­ter­tain­ment.

Two sources from Sony Mu­sic told City Press that Spikiri En­ter­tain­ment was now signed un­der Sony Mu­sic for dis­tri­bu­tion and mar­ket­ing.

“Md­longwa and Sibika are not even in­ter­ested in help­ing him on this pro­ject. They both be­lieve kwaito is dead and this pro­ject is go­ing to be a dis­as­ter,” said one of the mu­si­cians.

Mo­fo­keng was re­luc­tant to com­ment when con­tacted, and asked to be called back at a later stage.

Now some of Kalawa Jazmee’s artists are think­ing of leav­ing the com­pany.

“Most artists are still fig­ur­ing out a way to leave the com­pany for good. They feel aban­doned,” said one of the mu­si­cians. “I can tell you now, no artist will speak badly about the record la­bel. They are scared that it might be the end of their mu­sic ca­reers.”

How­ever, the la­bel bosses are in­sis­tent that there is noth­ing wrong at the com­pany.

Md­longwa said: “We are the only in­de­pen­dent black la­bel. We have been at this for 20 years. There are bound to be peo­ple who have some­thing to say, who would like for there to be some drama or would like to see the end of Kalawa. It is not true,” he said.

Sibika also de­nied the ex­is­tence of any dis­agree­ments that could threaten the la­bel.

“There is no such thing at Kalawa,” he said.


ON THE ROCKS? Os­car ‘Oskido’ Md­longwa, DJ and pro­ducer Zynne ‘Ma­hoota’ Sibika and kwaito pi­o­neer Mandla ‘Spikiri’ Mo­fo­keng

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